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Fall-inspired comfort food

I thought about starting this off with a whimsical story about how I love Fall SO much that I couldn't wait to start cooking dishes using fall ingredients, but that would be (mostly) untrue. I do love the Fall season, especially here in Michigan, but the reason for this dish was a simple one: butternut squash were on sale at the supermarket.

Lately, instead of planning a menu and shopping accordingly, I go to the grocery store and pick out whatever is in season, on sale, or particularly tantalizing, and then go from there. It's a bit haphazard, but forces me to be creative. So, on my last trip to the market, I picked up a large butternut squash. It sat on the counter for days as I put off cooking it in favor of something more convenient. Finally, tonight, I knew I needed to do something with it, not because it would go bad, which would take quite a long time, but because it was sitting there... STARING at me.

So, a soup was in order. In addition, I had a large bag of sweet apples and wanted to include them if possible. Thanks to a little internet query, I came up with the perfect recipe (coincidentally from one of my favorite cookbook authors). With a little modification on my part, I turned out a rich, tasty soup that was a major hit with the little guy.

trust me, peeling that raw squash for ten minutes was worth itCollapse )


'Tis Peach Season

To be perfectly honest, it's hard to think of anything appropriate to write as a starter to this dessert (or, -in my case- two days later, breakfast!). As you can tell based on the photo above, I couldn't even manage to get a picture of the finished pie because it was eaten so quickly! Flaky crust, juicy peaches, the right balance of spices... I think it should just speak for itself.

recipeCollapse )

Curried Chickpeas and Tofu

This is one of my favorite things to make lately. Not only is it extremely inexpensive, nearly all of the ingredients can be kept on hand. The only "special" purchase you'd have to make is for the tofu, but then again, some people keep that stuff around all the time too.

I happen to be a big fan of curries. I love spices, and I love spicy (yes, there is a difference). This one can be one or the other, or both, depending on your taste. You can add meat for a heartier meal, or you can leave out the yogurt accompaniment for a vegan dinner. And, as is with all curries, it tastes better the next day.

click for recipeCollapse )
Guess what today is, kids?

That's right, it's CHOCOLATE DAY at The Cat Cafe. Here are three recipes for yummy chocolate goods that you need to try out right this minute, because you never know when a craving will hit.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha IcingCollapse )

Homemade OreosCollapse )

Chocolate SconesCollapse )

Everyday Italian

I received the cookbook "Giada's Family Dinners" (written, of course, by Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis) for Christmas this past year. Truth be told, I'd been too busy fawning all over my other books to give this one more than a quick skim.

Recently, I wanted to try out new recipes, and I had already scoured my old favorites. I decided to pry this book open and take a peek inside for something to break my routine. Wow, I had been missing out.

One of the recipes that stood out was that for "Dirty Risotto". I'm sure everyone has tried some variation of Dirty Rice sometime in their lifetime, right? (If not, get right on it!)

This is Giada's Italian twist on that old familiar recipeCollapse )

Happy Father's Day?

This is really closer to a form of torture than it is a gift for my husband. Today is Father's Day, and I made a big pot of chili for my favorite carnivore. Unfortunately, he is clear across the country. Oh well, pictures count for something, right? (Please do excuse the messy presentation and poor quality... I snapped this picture with my cellphone on a whim, not originally intending to post it here.)

I've had this recipe sitting around for a couple of years now, spanning back to the days when I was a less experienced cook and relied on Rachael Ray for recipes much more often than I do now. I have made this a couple of times now, and while the prep is the hardest part (as in: most time consuming), it's definitely easy to throw together. Be sure not to omit the beer as it gives the chili a good, distinct flavor.

recipe belowCollapse )


The last barbeque sauce you'll ever make

I got the bright (and random) idea that I was going to make barbeque chicken pizza this weekend. This meant I needed a good barbeque sauce as the foundation. I am generally not a fan of store-bought sauces of any kind, whether it be salad dressing, tartar sauce, marinades, or, in this case, barbeque sauce.

So, naturally, I had to make my own.

...boy, am I glad I did!Collapse )


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sometimes I crave recipes. Not necessarily because I want to eat them (although that is usually the case as well!), but because I want to cook them. When I am craving a recipe, it'll sit there in the back of my mind until I finally prepare it myself. I came across the recipe for this soup in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and decided that I just had to make it as soon as possible. Several weeks later, I finally got around to it.

It was so tasty that I couldn't even be bothered to take a picture of it until after I had nearly finished a bowl!

This recipe yields a LOT of soup, so if you're only going to make it for a few people, I'd suggest freezing portions for later. Or, perhaps you really enjoy leftovers. Either way, please give it a try!

recipe this way!Collapse )

Red Thai Chicken Curry

I love spicy food. Alot. Depending on how much curry paste you add to this recipe, you can go from a pleasant warmth to a tongue-searing, nose-dripping dish from hell. Me, I try to go with a happy medium.

This dish is surprisingly easy to make, and comes together rather quickly. A wok is recommended for it, but isn't necessary. I've made it in large nonstick skillets just as easily. Don't forget to make extras, since the leftovers are even better the next day!

recipe and additional picturesCollapse )